Not everyone quits cycling when the wet and cold sets in; diehards keep the rubber to the asphalt all winter long by utilizing these six indispensable pieces of gear to keep them warm, dry and safe.
Most people have a general outdoors raincoat, which could be used in a pinch for riding in rainy conditions, but to make the most of a soggy commute, a cycling specific coat is your most important piece of gear. Unless you want full waterproofing and breathability, lesser expensive fabrics have upped their performance in recent years. A sport-specific jacket will also provide a longer “tail” to keep your rear-end dry, they’ll have a reflective material to keep you illuminated to oncoming traffic, and are hoodless to prevent the tunnel effect of wind blasting inside the coat.
Where does all that water from your raincoat go? Running down your legs, of course, therefore some slick slacks are the next step in staying dry. Make sure that they cinch at the cuff to keep your drivetrain from shredding them like confetti (the ubiquitous reflective ankle bands will also prevent this). A pair made specifically for cycling will have a few more bells and whistles, like articulated knees and more sparkly tape to help keep you visible.
Full fingered gloves
Cold hands can be a safety hazard (try stopping abruptly with frozen digits) and just plain uncomfortable in the best case scenario. Look for a pair that is water and windproof and are long enough to cover your wrist as well. A pair made for cycling will also have palm saving padding and will be constructed to withstand the specific rigors of cycling. Bifurcated “lobster”-style mitts are a must if you live in especially frigid climes.
While you could go for just toe covers, full coverage booties will provide your feet with head to toe dryness and warmth and your hoofs will be happy that you kept them in mind on your commute. Pair them with a set of wool athletic socks for the ultimate warm dry combo.
These simple and typically inexpensive additions are must for any wet ride. Even the minimalist versions will keep you substantially drier than without and if you can fit a full-length pair on your steed, your chances of arriving at your destination as dry as possible are improved immensely.
One that actually lets you see what’s in front of you, as I’m assuming that every cyclist has a set of front and rear blinking lights. A dislocated shoulder in October was a painful reminder for me that actually being able to see what’s in front of you these during the dark commute hours of winter is no underrated ability.
Now get out and ride.